Inside the Huddle: Q&A with Heritage’s New Girls Varsity Soccer Coach Holly King

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Photo per Chris Henderson

Photo per Chris Henderson

By Spencer DuPuis
LoCoSports Staff Writer
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Leesburg (April 8, 2015) — Holly King — a 2009 graduate of Broad Run High School — has her first head coaching job. She made the eight mile journey from Broad Run to Heritage High School to coach the Pride girls varsity soccer team.

At Broad Run, King was named the VHSL AA all-state girls soccer Player of the Year in both 2008 and 2009 while helping the Lady Spartans to back-to-back AA state championships with a 47-0-1 record.

During her senior year at the University of Florida, she earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year, all-SEC first team and all-America honors.

In February 2013, King was drafted by the Washington Spirit in the third round of the draft in the inaugural season of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), appearing in 14 games that year before heading back to Florida for her graduate degree. She decided to go play for the Colorado Pride of the W-League in 2014 and will continue to play for them after the high school season is over in June.

In addition to her duties with the Heritage Pride soccer program, King is a fourth grade teacher at Steuart Weller Elementary School in Ashburn.

King — who has the Pride off to a 3-1 start in their 2015 campaign — sat down with LoCoSports journalist Spencer DuPuis to give us the scoop: inside the huddle.

Spencer DuPuis: It’s not often you get to meet someone that gets drafted to play a sport at the highest level. What was it like to be drafted to your hometown team, the Washington Spirit?

Holly King: I was so excited to represent my hometown. Because I attended college in the SEC, my family and friends didn’t get to attend many of my collegiate games. Having the opportunity to play professionally for my home team meant my family and friends could attend the home games. I was honored, and I’m very grateful for the experience.

DuPuis: With all your experience in soccer, what are a few pieces of advice you would give athletes who want to play collegiality and in the pros?

King: Take the time to learn from each coach and mentor that you meet. I was able to learn from so many different coaches throughout my career; I feel that I am a pretty well rounded player both on and off the field. There will be non-believers and individuals who have many different opinions on what they think you should do. I had non-believers in my decision to play at the University of Florida. I didn’t let that stop me, I followed my heart, and it was the best decision I have ever made. I was fortunate enough to be named an all-American and captain my senior year. Do not let others influence you as a player, stay true to your beliefs and have confidence in yourself.

DuPuis: What made you want to stop playing soccer professionally to become a teacher and ultimately the head coach of the Heritage girls varsity soccer team?

King: I wanted to further my education. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and was one of the few players on my college team that did not change my major. I knew that my profession would require me to continue my education so I attended graduate school at UF after being drafted by the Spirit. Unfortunately, I did not graduate until midway through the next NWSL season. However, the W-League season started later in the spring, so I decided to continue my soccer career and played with the Colorado Pride in the W-League. The W-League ends prior to the start of the school year, so it was an easy transition from soccer to my career. Coaching the Heritage girls soccer team is an added bonus!

DuPuis: This being your first head coaching gig, what do you want people to know about your coaching style?

King: I am extremely competitive. I love possession oriented play, which is different from other high schools. I think our team will benefit from this style of play as opposed to playing direct. Combinations, one touch passing and high pressure are a competitive style of play that my girls have the talent and technical ability to play.

DuPuis: With this team coming off a VHSL 4A North region semifinal appearance, what will you do to help push them further this season?

King: Creating team camaraderie and a positive cohesive team is our focus as a coaching staff. Our daily work-outs and practice will be as competitive as our games. We need to take one game at a time and prepare each week for our competition.

DuPuis: Without giving your players too much insider knowledge, do you mind sharing your most embarrassing moment in sports?

King: Not really having to do with sports, but my junior year of college I was in the weight room with the team and the football team. We were working on snatches. Our strength coach was pushing us to use good form and to stay focused. With that in mind, I snatched the bar so hard and forgot to squat. The bar hit me in the forehead and I ended up with a concussion and four stitches. My cell phone was blowing up from texts from the football team giving me advice on how to snatch a bar.

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